B-Movie Giant Spider Invasion (1975)
Giant Spider Invasion was one of the top grossing movies of 1975, right alongside classics like Eskimo Nell, Royal Flash, and The Adventures of the Wilderness Family. I guess I’m saying the box office doesn’t mean bunk, because this movie is terrible and it’s slow as all get-out. I’ve always wondered why so many people love this dichotomy because there are certainly a lot of fans of bad movies like this one, and I was just introduced to Giant Spider Invasion, as a bug-on-VHS-joke.
Spiders come down from outer space, mutate and attack people. Or rather, one single spider mutates and attacks. That’s basically the plot of this movie. There are a bug-load of subplots, but none of them are any good, and the movie is loaded with tons of stuff probably not meant to be funny. The best parts are the scenes with the bug (singular) and those scenes reminded me of 50s giant bug movies. I was really hoping and praying for something good here, or at least something funny. I got STUGOTS! That’s nothing, for all you slang aficionados.
This movie stars actors who are vaguely recognizable from other movies or TV. Alan Hale Jr. played the Skipper on Gilligan’s Island, and he’s one of the movie’s biggest stars. He plays the Sheriff, and opens the movie with his Deputy, in order to give us some introductory exposition. The dialogue between the Sheriff and his “little buddy” is hammy to say the least, but that’s as good as the script ever gets. It’s all downhill from here!
The hilarious parts begin with a falling meteor, which takes about 10 minutes to hit the Earth. Scenes of a rock flying across space are placed between character moments meant to introduce all the characters. I was just waiting for the spiders, already. Come on, invade! Stop stalling!
After Pink Floyd brings us the meteor exploding in a field, the movie takes another 10 minutes to tease us with some huge spider-webs and cocoons growing in a field. Barbara Hale aka the Secretary on Perry Mason, gives us some endlessly boring exposition to explain stars or meteors or stars exploding or something. I wasn’t listening.
About 45 minutes in, a farmer discovers a dead cow, a glowing rock and a big hole. No spiders though. He sits down to wipe his forehead, and I was about to turn it off when a giant spider appeared from behind a tree. It eats the farmer. Spiders are apparently carnivores. The spider wanders off. Yaaaaay, I think.
Later, Barbara Hale arrives to scan the field for spiders, but she doesn’t see the huge frickin monster, until her pal pulls up in a dilapidated Chevy to shoot it with a rifle. No effect, of course. Cue organ music for more tension. Barbara Hale runs like a chicken. Everyone runs like a chicken. From a single giant spider. Crawling very slowly. Hilarious. There’s a stampede past a 7-11. The Sheriff calls the National Guard. The Sheriff goes out to warn the people on his lawn, then gets into hand-to-hand combat with the spider. Guess what? That’s right, he’s eaten. The spider eats The Skipper…err The Sheriff.
Finally, Barbara Hale and her pal firebomb the giant spider, sacrificing everyone’s lawn but killing the spider. The end. That’s the end of the one-spider invasion from space. It’s a good thing too, because I think my VHS copy wasn’t going to take much more. In the end, there’s not much good about this movie and I was surprised how bad it really was, after hearing how much of a cult classic this one was. It’s crap. It’s long. The title is deceptive. The effects are crap. I’d rather watch a giant bug movie from the 50s. Then again, I’d probably miss a tarantula eating Alan Hale Jr. Fun times. I guess that was worth it.